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Gadgets

Brookstone, your mall's tacky gadget store, just went bankrupt

It lasted a whole decade longer than The Sharper Image, though!

Shoppers at the Brookstone store. Shopping for Father's Day at the Glendale Galleria on Jun. 12, 20
Lawrence K. Ho/ LA Times via Getty Images

Where, oh where will we buy cheaply made electronic toys now? Toys R Us is gone, and now mall fixture Brookstone is joining it in brick-and-mortar purgatory. 

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankcruptcy today, and has just announced it'll be closing all 101 of its stores in shopping malls around the United States. Technically, it isn't dead quite yet, as Brookstone will still have its 35 locations in airports, and it's trying to sell itself (again) to keep the brand alive. 

You might recall that rival The Sharper Image closed its last stores a decade ago, but it's a great example of how zombie brands can live on. We recently saw brand-new Sharper Image-branded products on clearance at a going-out-of-business Toys R Us sale, which felt somewhat ironic.

Brookstone admitted in a bankruptcy filing that its mall stores have lost money every single year since the company was purchased by a Chinese investment fund in 2014. But the company's vice president believes that the brand still has value because of -- I kid you not -- "lighted Bluetooth headphones that also feature lighted cat ears."

Read for yourself:

The key to the Debtors' product offerings is Brookstone's unique "Plus One" model, which is woven throughout all three product categories. Brookstone does not offer merely a weighted blanket (a product which helps relieve stress and enhances relaxation); rather, Brookstone offers a weighted blanket with Nap® fabric, a specially designed fabric that is softer than the weighted blankets offered by competitors. Similarly, Brookstone does not offer merely Bluetooth headphones, they offer lighted Bluetooth headphones that also feature lighted cat ears that double as additional external speakers and allow the user to control and change the light displayed thereon. It is this "Plus One" doctrine, together with Brookstone's commitment to quality, which is the primary strength and value driver associated with the "Brookstone" brand.

No ordinary products, those.